A tragic suicide?
When Rose’s daughter, Vivien, is found dead in a suspected suicide, Rose has questions nobody can answer. Wasn’t Vivien living the perfect life? A caring husband, a sweet little girl of her own.
Or the perfect murder?
But as the police investigation develops, their findings raise new questions. Did Vivien kill herself, or was she attacked? If so, who has something to hide?
As Rose struggles to piece together the secrets of her daughter’s life, the cracks in the family begin to show. But once Rose knows the answers, there’s no going back…
Rose and Vivien don’t share your classic mother-daughter relationship. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The pair rarely have anything to do with one another, so when Vivien is found dead and a police investigation opens into the cause of her death – Rose begins to discover more and more secrets about her daughter and the life she lead.
Vivien left behind her devoted husband, Ben, and her young daughter, Lexi. Despite not playing a prominent role in her granddaughters life up until now, Rose is determined to form a relationship with Lexi and protect her from whatever horrible truths seem to be surrounding Vivien’s death. But what extent will Rose go to to keep the real truth hidden? And more important what exactly IS the real truth?
As soon as I’d devoured the prologue for this intense, intriguing tale I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop reading until I had uncovered the whole story. The prologue kicks off as Vivien’s body is discovered; cold and lifeless on her own bathroom floor. But who is it who has discovered her?
The story then unfolds, mainly through Rose’s narration, but we also get to hear snippets from Vivien as the story of her life slots together.
The first thing that you become aware of is the poor relationship between Rose and Vivien, however it’s unclear as to why things are like they are. The second thing that comes to light is that neither of these characters seem particularly likable. The more I discovered about Vivien the more horrified I became – but how can you hate a character who has met an untimely end and been torn away from her husband and daughter? Then there’s Rose. She’s not a horrible character by any means – there were times when I felt myself begin to warm to her but I couldn’t fully let myself trust her and I wasn’t sure why. I also wanted to know exactly why she seemed to feel so little for Vivien – what had happened between the pair when Vivien was growing up? There is no denying that as untrustworthy and odd as the characters in this novel might be, you cannot help but become engrossed and truly fascinated by them (and I’m not just talking about Vivien and Rose here. Take Vivien’s friend, Cleo, for instance. I could never quite work out if she was as psychotic as she appeared…) I loved how Luana almost forces you to make assumptions about these characters, but one thing I also learnt is to NEVER make assumptions in a novel like this because you will nearly always be wrong. These dark, complex and slightly creepy characters were absolutely thrilling to read about.
The plot and outcome of Forget Me Not is so cleverly crafted and the ending was one which makes perfect sense but I would never have imagined in a million years. I love novels that can keep me guessing and Luana Lewis is so clever in the sense that she drip feeds you snippets of information but never gives too much away. As a reader you are given just enough to be thoroughly intrigued but never enough so that you will guess the outcome.
If you enjoy psychological thrillers then this is a must-read. It’s smart, tense and will leave you with a feeling of unease.
I am delighted to have discovered Luana Lewis and naturally I ordered her first novel, Don’t Stand So Close within minutes of turning the final page of Forget Me Not. She has a true talent for keeping you on the edge of your seat and bringing to life flawed, complex and frighteningly believable characters who you won’t be able to forget in a hurry.
This is definitely a thriller to lose yourself in and get your heart racing. However, beware – it will sabotage your sleep and social life right up until you’ve turned the last chilling page.
Luana Lewis is a clinical psychologist and author of two non-fiction books: An Adult’s Guide to Childhood Trauma(1999, Cape Town: David Phillip Publishers) and Dealing with Rape (1994,Johannesburg: Maskew Miller Longman). As well as writing for several newspapers, magazines and journals, she has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has also attended workshops at Arvon and City Lit.
DON’T STAND SO CLOSE is her début novel, a gripping psychological thriller about a reclusive psychologist who is forced to confront trauma from her past and secrets in her marriage.